The Museum community mourns the loss of Holocaust survivor Jack Feldman, grandfather of Museum Trustee Stacey Saiontz. Jack starred in the HBO short film The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm, which was the center of an installation at the Museum in 2018 and 2019. The film is available to watch online. Jack attended the film’s premiere at the Museum and participated in a post-screening discussion.
Srulek “Jack” Feldman was born in 1926 in Skarzysko-Kamiena Poland. Shortly after his birth, Jack’s family moved to Sosnowiec Poland, where his father, a capmaker, established a store on the first floor of their home. Jack lived happily in Sosnowiec, attending school, working with English, German and Hebrew tutors after school and playing soccer with his friends. Shortly after the war broke out in 1939, Jack’s family was forced to move to the Sosnoweic Ghetto. In 1940, when Jack, age 14, was walking with some boys in the Ghetto, Nazi officials grabbed him and took him away. He was sent to a series of Nazi labor and death camps, including Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Annaberg, Fallsbruck, Gleiwice, Ludwigsdorf, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Jack arrived at Auschwitz on July 23, 1944. The number A-17606 was tattooed onto his arm.
On January 17, 1945, as the Soviet army was approaching Auschwitz, Jack, along with many other prisoners, was forced on a death march from Poland to Germany through the winter of 1945 until May 5, when he was finally liberated by the side of a road in Germany. After liberation, Jack made his way back home, where he learned that none of his immediate family members had survived. Jack eventually made his way to Feldafing Displaced Persons camp, where he married his wife Sally and had a son they named Sam. In 1949, he, Sally, and Sam came to the United States on the USS Marine Flasher. In the United States, Jack and Sally added two more children, Irving and Rochelle, to their family.
Jack’s legacy will live on in his three children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. We are grateful that he shared his history so that future generations can learn from the past. May his memory be a blessing.